Family Life

What does a wedding cost?

October 6, 2015

So many people choose to become engaged and get married without having any idea what the big day will cost them. But weddings are becoming increasingly expensive. Those costs, and debts, can have a big impact on a new marriage.


It is important to go into the process knowing how much a wedding will likely cost you. Only then, knowing all the necessary information, can you begin the planning process with your eyes open.




It is generally accepted a wedding will cost about R1 000 per guest you invite. recently conducted a survey to find out what kind of weddings South Africans are planning. Their results were shocking – but not unexpected. The survey found:

  • The total spend for the average wedding was R128 000.
  • The big day cost 84% of that amount while the honeymoon cost 16%.
  • Some 43% of couples shared the cost with their families.
  • Just 38% of couples paid for the day themselves.
  • A shocking 10% relied on the bride’s parents to foot the bill.


According to wedding planners Great Occasions, the total cost for an average South African wedding comes to about R70 000 to R80 000 for 80 to 100 guests. For more high-end weddings, those figures can easily double with the average cost per guest working out to between R1 500 and R2 000.


Money advice for couples


Financial advisor Maya Fisher-French advises couples to think carefully about wedding spending. She argues the money spent on a wedding could be better spent buying a house or saving for the future.

“In this modern world where couples are jointly paying for the costs of marriage couples need a more open and honest discussion about their values and priorities before committing the funds.

“Understanding each other’s money goals, money attitudes and personal dreams before you get married will save a lot of pain and fighting and hopefully the marriage itself,” she writes.


Drawing up a budget


Before you start planning, you need to know what your limit is. And then you need to be sure to never go over that number. Most budgets can be divided in this way:

  • 50% toward venue hire, food and drink costs.
  • 10% to 15% on wedding dress, shoes and accessories.
  • 20% to 30% on everything else you can think of. This includes music, cake, invitations, candles, décor, table gifts, flowers, photography and accommodation for special guests if necessary.
  • 5% to 20% for extra emergency spending. Something will come up.

Weddings are certainly not cheap. Just one look at the prices of wedding bands for women will confirm that. You need to be smart and plan carefully for your big day. The last thing you want to do is go into debt, take out loans and spend too much.

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